Achieving true business growth means diversifying efforts to expand and maintain existing customer relationships. Capitalizing on cross and upsell opportunities can be powerful tools to add value for the customer and your cleaning business. Research shows that increasing customer retention by just 5 percent can increase your profits by 25-95 percent, with upselling and cross-selling responsible for about 10-30 percent of total business revenue, according to a Forrester analyst.
It’s also easier and cheaper to make an additional sale to an existing customer rather than acquire a new one. It’s estimated that businesses have a 60 to 70 percent probability of selling a new service to an existing customer versus a 5 to 20 percent probability of acquiring a prospect. Upselling and cross-selling cleaning services allow you to increase profit while saving time and travel costs. Here are some tips to help improve your cross-selling and upselling efforts, whether you’re just starting a cleaning company or if you’ve been in business for years and are looking to increase revenue.
Cross-Selling – Selling a similar cleaning product or service instead of or in addition to the original service. For example, the customer wants their carpets steamed, but you also offer to clean their baseboards at an additional charge.
Upselling – Adding value to the order by increasing the level, quality, or value of service in exchange for a higher fee. E.g., the customer’s service request is for basic cleaning, but their floors are in very bad shape. You offer a grouting and foundation stripping service with waxing on top of the basic cleaning.
For the Customer’s Benefit
Customer engagement must stem from the goal of providing a positive customer experience. Most of us have had an incident where a salesperson tries to sell us something we don’t need. As you might guess, this isn’t good for business. However, upselling doesn’t have to be about lining your pockets. It can, and should be, for the customer’s benefit.
Example: You’re cleaning the customer’s house, and you notice the drains are clogged. You cross-sell a drain cleaning service. You’re making more money, but the customer walks away with more value. Delivering that kind of value will help to combat the purported 50 percent customer loss per year faced by most cleaning companies due to poor service.
Takeaway: If the customer doesn’t win, don’t make the sale. Providing your customer with value is always more important than forcing an incremental sale.
Any upsell must be based on customer needs and how the customer benefits from increasing the value of their purchase. This requires that you have a deep understanding of who the customer is and what they want. Crew leads, and team members must be trained to understand your buyer profiles, recognize opportunities, and use an understanding of your products and services to offer more value to customers.
- Understanding the customer. Creating customer or buyer profiles can help you recognize customers and what they value to give them a better pitch. Some love the lowest price; others value higher quality. Identifying different types of customers and their concerns will greatly improve your ability to upsell your cleaning services.
- Asking questions, being observant, and using the knowledge and experience of the service personnel are the easiest ways to recognize and capitalize on opportunities.
- Upselling based on need. If an additional product or service will benefit, offer it. If it won’t, don’t.
Common Upsell and Cross-Sell Opportunities
While there are many ways to make an upsell or cross-sell, opportunities often lie in similar motivations. These include saving time, saving money, getting an additional service for a good deal, and adding value.
Saving Time – Many people are concerned about time, which makes it an excellent place to begin an upsell. If your cleaning crew recognizes something else that needs to be done, they can very easily recommend that they do it now to save the customer time.
Example: “I noticed the grouting in your office is molding, cleaning it isn’t in your current janitorial service package, but we can add it for $1 per square foot and save you having to hire someone to do it later.”
Saving Money – Money is a major concern for many customers, even when they have it to spare. Here, you can recognize opportunities based on giving customers a good deal, such as a much better service for a slightly larger price. Point out running discounts or specials, when it’s more practical to choose another service, or when you can save the customer money on a total service by giving them a package deal.
Example: “Based on the total time and materials, cleaning the stain will cost $180. However, I have to say it will only be $230 to clean the entire carpet, so you could have the entire thing cleaned for just 30 percent more.”
Example: “I see you opted in for our 6-month cleaning service. We are currently running a special on our 12-month cleaning service with the same cleaning schedule. It would be $490 per week for your full 12,000-square-foot office, which will save you $120 per week over what you have now, what do you think? If you’re happy when we’re done here, I can upgrade you at no extra cost and save you money on this session as well – and then you can rely on us for the rest of the year.”
Additional Service — Identifying and offering to solve other problems on the property is a skill your team should know. This can include using service descriptions to recommend additional services or simply paying attention to location and making an offer.
Example: “Did you know we clean office windows as well? We can combine it with our weekly floor care plan to save you money on an extra visit.”
Example: “I noticed you have some peeling paint in your offices. Did you know we offer a full handyman service for repairs and general maintenance that you can combine with your existing floor-care package?”
Added Value — You can offer added value by paying attention to what the customer wants and cares about and pitching based on that. This can include an additional cleaning service, a better product, or a better deal, especially trending products and services such as green cleaning.
Example: “I noticed you have solar panels, would you perhaps be interested in our eco-friendly cleaning option? It’s $25 extra to account for the added product cost but we have the supplies with us.”
Example: “Would you like us to strip and wax the floors? We normally recommend that you do so every 6 months to protect the commercially tiled floors, and we could add it on as part of your standard floor-care package.”
Delivering value through upselling and cross-selling requires that your team have the tools and service options to provide it. This means deliberately creating a service structure that enables upselling while giving more customers the opportunity to choose services that suit their needs.
This also means making sure that your employees are properly trained not just to upsell but also to impress customers by doing their best work. Learn more about training maids & cleaning employees in our post “7 Tips for Training New Maids & House Cleaning Employees“.
You can also take advantage of specific resources to recognize and develop upsell opportunities with customers during the order and sales process and the service call.
Tiered Sales – Structuring your products and services around quality options gives customers the ability to choose based on need. For example, a “good, better, best” model translates very well to cleaning services, allowing customers to choose from light, moderate, or deep cleaning. It also allows you to sell longer service terms, with weekly light cleaning, intermediate cleaning every third week, deep cleaning every quarter, and so on. This can greatly increase sales, as different tiers appeal to other customers. Still, you can also make a pricier package seem more tempting by having an even more expensive option available because most customers choose the middle option to avoid missing out.
Subscription/Loyalty Programs: Customers want to be rewarded for being good customers, which is why U.S. consumers hold 3.8 billion customer loyalty accounts. Use a subscription or loyalty program to offer discounts to customers who commit to a certain number of visits.
Building Trust – If the customer doesn’t trust that you intend to provide them with the best service, they won’t likely pay for it. Build trust and reliability first through exceptional service and work to develop upsells after that is established. For example, by telling customers they can wait to decide on an upsell till after you’ve completed the original service, you give them more confidence in your ability to do the job well. Over half of customers say they value a brand or business if they feel they can trust them.